Day & Age

Like their hometown of Las Vegas, the Killers have a flair for anything supersize, sparkly and over-the-top: soaring synth-pop operas, multipart arena-rock anthems, "Bohemian Rhapsody"-style choirs. So it makes sense that, after 2006's massively ambitious Sam's Town, their third studio album expands their scope even further, adding subtle world-music accents to their glittery New Wave anthems — fitting for a band bent on international megastardom. Produced by dance maven Stuart Price, Day & Age broadens the Killers' sound with dub-inflected grooves ("Joyride"), Caribbean-style steel drums ("I Can't Stay") and a chanted intro that recalls South Africa's Lady­smith Black Mambazo ("This Is Your Life") — though it's performed by the band itself.

When the Killers really push the theatrics, they shine: "Spaceman" re-imagines New Order's "Temptation" as an alien-abduction anthem with a great singalong chorus. And the rousing "A Dustland Fairytale" moves from somber pianos to an orchestral conclusion so epic, you half-expect some kind of fairy godmother to swoop in and save singer Brandon Flowers. Too bad all that drama sometimes weighs down Flowers — he's developed quite a persecution complex. "Run and tell your friends I'm losing touch," he scoffs on "Losing Touch," and by "Neon Tiger" he's giving himself pep talks: "They'll strategize and name you/But don't you let them tame you!" Relax, dude. With imagination like this, you're doing fine.

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